Danielle Martincich - 2016 Program Participant

What inspired you to go abroad?

I always wanted to go abroad, to work and make memories simultaneously; it was always my goal, even since high school. But, I didn't act on it until a few months after I graduated from university. I made the decision to go abroad during my third and final year of my degree. I realized that I loved what I was studying, but needed to find myself, my passion, and fulfill my goal to go abroad. That is when I came across the teach in Korea programme. I felt like it ticked all the checkboxes and that if there was any opportunity to work and travel, this was it.

Korean elementary students working on an assignment
My elementary class doing an "in class" task, instructing each other in English only.

Why did you choose XploreAsia?

You know when you have that good feeling in your gut? Well, follow it! Everything seemed great about this specific programme. A year abroad in a country with a new culture, advanced technology, and many neighboring countries close by was a very exciting and crazy thing I wanted to experience because I'd never been abroad before. Deciding to be a part of this programme was a huge step for me, but the prompt responses from the recruiters and all their assistance really put me at ease.

What was your favorite part about South Korea?

I'm currently living in Incheon, a fairly new city, however, quite a large and fastly growing one. I love the transport system (I wish I had it back home); it is fast, safe, cheap, and very convenient. The internet is also the fastest in the world (for real!). But more so, before or after work, as well as on weekends, there is always something beautiful and cultural to see. Korea has so much history, every part of it is amazing.

Inside Namsan Tower in Seoul, South Korea
360 degree view of Seoul from Namsan Tower
Every moment is one you are able to take in and remember for the rest of your life.

What made your experiences in Korea unique?

After first arriving in a foreign country, especially for someone who is so close with their family, it's all very strange and it can really take a toll on your emotions. What is unique is how I fell in love with it. Many Koreans are very humble and helpful, despite the language barrier. I also met people from all over the world and have formed strong friendships. The country is also very safe, so although walking home at 10 p.m. after work is unheard of in this day and age, in Korea it's possible. The kids at school are also definitely at the top of my list, many of them really touched my heart.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

They helped me narrow down my choice of where to stay, especially not knowing what each city would be like; they helped me find one by simply looking at my interests, lifestyle preference, and hobbies. They were very informative about the city I was going to and gave me any information I requested. They made sure all documents were in order, and I felt they were always a call or email away if I didn't feel at ease.

My program was simply one where I applied online and got a job offer. I already had a TEFL and degree. A few months down the line, the program coordinators organized three weekends full of activities for a few of us. We saw amazing places, stayed in a beautiful guest house (organized by HandsKorea and Xplore Asia), and formed lifelong friendships.

Hiking in Seoul, South Korea
Hiking in Seoul

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

Sleep less, explore more!

In your free time, what did you enjoy doing?

Taking a subway and getting off at a random stop, shopping in the underground subway malls, doing cultural excursions, and visiting neighboring cities or countries whenever I could.

What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?

In comparison to many apartments I have seen online, mine was very spacious and modern. I had a beautiful furnished apartment and it was close to transport and shops.

What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?

Don't overthink. Take the leap of faith and at least try. Be open-minded to learning and gaining world knowledge. Also, trust your gut.

Selfie of a girl beside a sculpture in Seoul, South Korea
Structures & Artwork

Would you recommend Xplore Asia to others? Why?

Recruiters are a great way to have the surety of finding a secure and solid job, to not have to worry about sorting a visa on your own, and to always have someone to talk to when you feel a bit stuck during the programme. It is always useful to have helpful people on your side.